Who was the Eighth Dwarf?

  Just who was the mysterious 'Eighth Dwarf'? Frank attempts to shed some light on this much-discussed question... Over the years, there has been a great deal of discussion about the exact identity of the so-called “fifth Beatle”, as there has been regarding which pinniped deserves the title “the seventh seal”. Much ... Read More...

Adrian Carton de Wiart: Happy Odyssey

Gaw pays tribute to one of the most remarkable soldiers this country has produced... Adrian Carton de Wiart's soldiering career extended from Boer to Second World Wars, taking in many events of large historical importance. He was usually to be found in the thick of the action, winning a VC during the ... Read More...

Songs My Mother Taught Me

Today, a classic from the Frank Key oeuvre.  For more such uncategorisable fictive brilliance, you should buy the Dabbler Editions ebook By Aerostat to Hooting Yard: A Frank Key Reader... My mother had a tin ear and a voice like a corncrake. In spite of these shortcomings, she saw it as her maternal ... Read More...

John Snagge, Wally Hope and the Counterculture

Nige on a legendary hippie and his surprising family connection... One of the more surprising facts about John Snagge, the old-school BBC radio announcer and boat race commentator ('I can't see who's in the lead, but it's either Oxford or Cambridge') is that he was the guardian of a legendary figure of ... Read More...

Cecil Beaton and the Baroness

When Steerforth came across the strange-looking autobiography by one Baroness Von Bülop, he was intrigued - especially as she seemed to have enlisted the celebrated photographer Cecil Beaton... One stormy afternoon, I came across an illustrated 1939 autobiography called 'My Royal Past', by Baroness Von Bülop: It didn't look terribly inspiring, but then I noticed ... Read More...

The Habit of Return

What do the unsettling and astonishing multi-generational migratory habits of the monarch butterfly tell us about humans?... The multiple life stages of butterflies were strangely upsetting to me as a boy. Their transformations were supposed to inspire wonder, and the eruption of the adult butterfly from the pupa, I was told, ... Read More...

Googie Withers and Skippy

How might history have turned out if Skippy the Bush Kangaroo had been called 'Googie' instead, asks Frank urgently.... Skippy The Bush Kangaroo might so easily have been called Googie. The eponymous marsupial heroine of the Australian television series, which ran from 1966 to 1968 and is still shown regularly on ... Read More...